Details of Rangers' dossier of evidence against SPFL revealed
Rangers’ dossier of evidence against the Scottish Professional Football League has been circulated to all 42 member clubs.
The document reached inboxes this morning and raises questions about the game’s governing body.
However, the SPFL insisted it has “failed to identify a single shred of evidence to support Rangers' vociferous claims of corruption, bullying and coercion by SPFL staff".
Much of it surrounds the vote to end the season early last month following the coronavirus outbreak, with Dundee’s decision to change their casting vote from “no” to “yes” a critical factor.
The SPFL commissioned Deloitte to carry out an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the vote after Rangers stated that Neil Doncaster, the SPFL chief executive, and legal advisor Rod McKenzie should be suspended.
Deloitte said they found nothing untoward but Rangers, backed by Hearts and Stranraer, succeeding in forcing an EGM of all SPFL clubs to call for a more thorough inquiry. That is due to take place on Tuesday.
Ibrox officials declared they had evidence of “bullying and coercion” from SPFL executives and pledged to divulge it today.
Their document raised the following issues:
Rangers state: “Rangers, having taken Counsel's advice, has concerns that the Chief Executive of the SPFL, Neil Doncaster, may have breached his duties as a director of the SPFL.
“Rangers understands that ND was the guiding hand who determined the SPFL’s actions, but this is a matter that should be checked and determined by the expert.
“In particular, based on the information available to it at this time, Rangers believes that:
“The SPFL did not provide member clubs with all material information available to it to allow members to make a fully informed decision on the written resolution presented to them;
“The SPFL misrepresented the situation to its members through material non-disclosure;
“ND, as a director and the chief executive of the SPFL, breached his duty to exercise the care, skill and diligence expected of a person in his position;
“There are reasonable grounds for suspecting that ND may have breached his fiduciary duty as a director of the SPFL.”
Material information to member clubs over season being ended early
Rangers state: “Potential refunds of up to £10m could be due from the SPFL to broadcasters and sponsors. £10m represents 40% of the total 2019/20 members’ fee payments from the SPFL. Why was this not disclosed?
“Clubs erronously told they could only receive cash by voting for the SPFL resolution. This was a clear misrepresentation and was given as the reason why the resolution was being processed with such haste by ND.
“There were other means by which the SPFL couldhave distributed funds to its members. Why was this not disclosed?
“The briefing paper given to the SPFL board referred to ‘substantial problems’ involved with league restructuring, but details of these problems were omitted from the briefing paper to clubs. Why was this not disclosed?”
Rangers state: “Dundee's vote was sent to the SPFL at 4.48pm on Friday 10 April. Why was Dundee FC’s email account not whitelisted ahead of such an important vote? Why did no-one check the SPFL’s quarantine until 8.30pm? Was there an instruction not to do so or to delay doing so?”
Cease and desist requests from SPFL
Rangers state: “RMcK issued four ‘cease and desist’ requests to the Rangers chairman on the evening of Friday 10 April and the morning of Saturday 11 April, the final one of which said: ‘Can we not simply resolve this by a confirmation that such an allegation will not be repeated in connection with these events and that the suggested course of action will not be proceeded with.
“This is what Douglas Park [Rangers chairman] was referring to in his statement of 11 April when he said that ‘Rangers will not be bullied into silence’.”
UEFA letter on ending the season early
Rangers state: “A letter was sent to UEFA on 4 April from ND and the CEO of the SFA. The letter stated that the ‘vast majority of SPFL clubs are calling for curtailment of the 2019/20 season in Scotland’. This was six days before the vote on the resolution.
“The letter also stated that payments due to clubs could only be made once the final league placings had been determined.
“Both of these statements were material misrepresentations of the position at the date of the letter and can only have been designed to induce the UEFA executive committee to approve a premature end to season 2019/20 for Scottish football.
“Why was this information not disclosed to clubs?
“Rangers has been advised by several Member Clubs that they have additional information that they would like to disclose concerning these events, but that they would only do so with the protection of an Independent Investigation.
“This is of particular relevance with regard to the accusations of bullying where the fear of recriminations persists.”
Sky Sports deal
Rangers write: “At one stage, when SR [Ibrox managing director Stewart Robertson] asked ND about the potential liability to Sky [if 2019/20 season was ended early], Neil Doncaster said that part of any claim could be met by giving Sky the League sponsorship package at no cost.
“This is a right which has a value of c£1.5m per annum. Such a solution, or partial solution, would reduce clubs' fee payments from the SPFL in future seasons and was not mentioned within the Club briefing paper.”
In their concluding remarks, Rangers state: “Scottish football’s credibility has been badly damaged by recent events and the resolution proposed by the SPFL Board and approved by members is seriously compromised.
“Rangers believes that the only credible way to resolve this situation is for an Independent Investigation to be held and led by an experienced QC with at least 10 years standing and experience carrying out investigations/enquiries.”
The SPFL issued a swift response to the Rangers dossier. A spokesman said: “It is now a month since Rangers accused the SPFL of bullying and corruption relating to the Dundee FC return.
“At last, Rangers have issued their ‘dossier’ and we will now take time to review it, before responding to all 42 clubs.
“Since Rangers publicly demanded the suspension of the SPFL’s chief executive and legal counsel, everyone in Scottish football has waited patiently for them to present their case.
“However, an initial examination of their ‘dossier’ has failed to identify a single shred of evidence to support Rangers’ vociferous claims of corruption, bullying and coercion by SPFL staff.
“If Rangers have any good reason for Neil Doncaster and Rod McKenzie to be suspended, we have yet to see it.”